I am the queen of all demons. I am the kind of monster children are scared of. I'm the thing humans fear.
“Your majesty, it’s time to get up.” A soft voice whispered next to my ear. My eyes flitter open as I start to come to conscious. I turn my head towards the direction of the voice. Like always, it was my personal butler, Joshua waking me up in the morning. My long black draped over my pillow and sheets like a blanket of fog. I’ve heard fog is like snow, but I’ve honestly never seen it before. It never snows here.
I stifled a yawn as I sat up and stretched. Joshua simply walked out the door to go to the dining room while I got dressed. I have to admit, being a queen is boring at times. I have to sit around in a poofy dress all day on my throne while soldiers update me on the rebellions. My family has always had the throne, so of course I was next in line. The rebellions started when I was only about 12. My mother and father did their best to stop them, but died trying. With their deaths brought a few years of peace- I took the throne when I was 15, and have been in power ever since. There are always rumors and reports of small rebellions across the demon world, but they are usually put out quickly by forces or are proven to just be stories. But it’s our job to check out each and every case. We can’t let there be another rebellion like last time.
It takes me awhile to get ready for the day, even though it’ll be another melancholy day as usual. After I get on my dress I have to put on my makeup and fix my hair. My dress is red, black, and purple with a diamond pattern on it. I always wear black lipstick and mascara. Last, of course, is my tiara.
The tiara has been passed down from generation to generation in my family. My own mother wore it while she was still alive. Those were definitely more peaceful times in the kingdom… Having such a young ruler isn’t the ideal situation for a country that has come out of civil war. I was only 14 when they died, but I remember it well.
As usual, I was sitting alone in my room. I had all the toys in the world to play with, but no one to play them with. In those days, Joshua was my personal butler like today, though he was only 18 at the time, my parents trusted him with my life. It was just past lunch, almost 1, when he came barging into my room in a panic.
“Princess, we must leave now!” he stammered with heavy breathing like he’d been running. Joshua ran over and grabbed my arm and coat. “Wha-what’s wrong?” I asked as he dragged me out of the room. “No time to explain- we must leave now,” he said. As we passed a window in the hall, I could just make out fires across the city. Even though it was just pass 12, the sky was a dark maroon color and the smoke seemed to billow up and add a murky gray to it. The embers of the fires on the buildings seemed to light up the town, though. I could see tiny black dots scrambling around, trying to find cover.
I knew this path. I’d been on it several times before, on practice drills when I wasn’t being home schooled. This was the way to the safe room.
The safe room was rarely used, as it was only used in emergencies. It was where the family and select indentured servants met incase of an attack or fire. As of right now, I couldn’t tell which one it was. Even though it was rarely used, that mean didn’t mean it wasn’t well stocked. It held enough food in there for five hungry people for two years. And incase of the chance of a fire and we would have to leave the castle, the safe room had a secret passageway to the back of the castle (one of the only places you can go to the human world to) that only a handful of people knew about.
We passed by the dining room, down a flight of stairs, through the ballroom, into another hall, and finally arrived to a small closet in the back corner of the basement. He had my black coat over my head as to shroud me while his other his hand on my back to guide me. The room was pitch-black, and once we got into the cramped room he closed the door behind us, which didn’t make it any better. He lit a candle from a lantern beside him, which illuminated the dank space around us to reveal we were the only ones here.
I looked up at him with a worried look on my face. “Joshua, where are my parents and the others?” He turned his back to me, locked the door, and grabbed a sword on a table beside him before he looks at me. His face was dark as he got on one knee to talk to me like he always did. It was annoying how he was only four years older than me and more than a foot taller. He sat the lantern down beside us on the gravel floor and put his free hand on my head.
“Celeste… there won’t be anyone else joining us down here.” He waited a bit to let it sink in. “Because they already left, right? Mother and father?” I said. I knew what he was trying to tell me, but my brain refused to accept it. “Earlier this morning, there were reports of arsonists breaking into the castle. Even though they were caught, it was revealed around lunchtime they had accomplices inside. Moat of the guards were either injured or killed. The Queen and King… didn’t make it.”
The tears came to my face before my mind had time to process it. I could faintly hear shouting and screaming from outside. They sounded like they were getting closer. Joshua held me closer to him with his left hand and gripped the sword tighter with his right.
I couldn’t remember how long we had stayed in there, but I know it was at least a couple of hours. I mostly stayed in the corner with my head tucked in between my legs and chest and cried while Joshua watched to see if there was anyone else out there. Finally, a soldier coming to see if any of the royal family was still alive found us. When we left the safe room, I could see that the castle was in shambles. The banners and tapestry that had once hung on the walls were now rugs for the overturned vases and pictures, and those still hanging on to their holders were torn in shreds. Columns and pillars that once helped hold up the castle were now little more than rubble. I could see small embers in the corners of the rubble that soldiers were still trying to put out. Joshua held my hand as we walked through the castle. Out steps echoed through the once regal halls with the sounds of broken glass crunching under out feet. We came to a stop when the guards in front of us came to a halt. As a single unit, they all bowed down in front of us.
“Why are they bowing?” I asked him, looking up. “They’re bowing at their Queen.” He answered. I started to realize what he meant. My parents were gone, and I was the next in line.
I stared at the tiara, just standing there remembering all the bad memories it held. I adjusted the crown on my head and walked out of my room.
The castle had been renovated several times since then. The initial repairs took almost a year to complete, but they finally restored the castle to its final glory. As I look out the window, I see the usual things- vendors at the marketplace, mothers walking with their children, soldiers helping an elderly person cross the street. Peaceful things.
The aroma of food fills the empty hallways, so I hurry on to the dining room. The meals are one of the best parts of my day, right next to sleeping. This morning the chef had prepared French toast, my favorite. Joshua is standing to the side of the dining room as I am eating. A guard whispers something quickly into his ear and scurries off. He quietly walks over to me to inform me on what he said.
“There’s a council meeting today,” he whispered to me. “When?” I asked, putting down my knife and fork. “Right now- they’re in the throne room waiting on you.” I choked on my French toast. I scraped down my meal and rose to leave. We left the dining room and started to walk across the castle to the throne room.
As we walked down the halls, things seemed different… It seemed like there were less people outside as there had been before, like the lights were dimmer than usual, like there weren’t as many guards as there should be. Things just seemed off. When we were getting closer to the throne room, I could just make out muffled sounds coming from the room- muffled screaming.
Joshua, who was walking in front of me, grabbed his sword. The door was slightly ajar, so he pushed it open with relative ease. That’s when things took a turn for the worse.
A shady figure that was lightning fast emerged from the doorway. The next thing I noticed was something metallic peek out of the darkness and then I saw the scythe plunge into Joshua.
“There you two are! We had hoped to find you at the council meeting, but I guess we’ll just have to kill you here instead… Reina, I found them!” A voice said from behind the door that was holding the scythe. She was wearing a purple dress with gold sequins and dark purple hair held up in buns that seemed to illuminate her golden eyes. I was too shocked to do anything that I almost didn’t react when I heard the sound of footsteps behind me. I reluctantly turned around; sure it was this “Reina” person.
The woman behind me was obviously a few years older than the purple girl, and seemed to be her polar opposite. Reina had long pink hair that turned into a medium purple in the back with light purple eyes. Unlike the other girl whose outfit was dressy and didn’t seem very practical to fight in, this girl had armor all of her with pink clothes under it and a warrior’s sword. I decided to grab my own scythe. “It’s about time you stopped playing around, Livana,” the girl in front of me said. “I sent you out to find the princess, not torture the council members,” she continued. “Oh well, I found them anyway, no help to you. Trianna said we couldn’t leave anyone alive,” the purple girl whose name was apparently Livana countered. “And besides, Trianna said she wanted the princess captured so she could deal with her herself.” I didn’t like the sound of that. Nor did I like the sound of her scythe coming out of his skin and blood dripping onto the floor and his coughing. He’d be all right, I hoped.
“Why don’t we get started, shall we?” Livana inquired. The two girls reared back and striked at the same time.
There’s one thing you need to understand about the demon world- it can be a dangerous place. Most demons, like Joshua, and myself can summon a preferred weapon out of thin air. I learned that at an early age. When I was 10 and Joshua was still training to become my butler, I would watch him practice sword fighting and would practice the same motions in my room until he found out. At first he was frustrated, but thought it was cute when I told him I didn’t want anyone to have to protect me. “Maybe when you’re older, I can give you proper training,” he told me and patted my head.
My scythe clashed against Reina’s blade as she swung her sword. On both sides it was sword vs. scythe. I didn’t have any time to look back, but I could tell Joshua was doing a pretty good job of defending against Livana, even though I didn’t see how. His chest was cut wide open and his sword was badly outmatched- he had a simple sleek, black sword while she had a huge scythe that had 4 ovals on the edges that would be perfect for disarming an opponent or cutting off their head.
A few soldiers that were still alive came rushing up behind Reina to join the fight. Reina briefly lost her concentration on me and focused it on them, giving me a chance to take a few steps back. “Celeste! You must leave now!” Joshua yelled at me. “No way in hell am I leaving you here to be killed! This isn’t happening again!” I told him. “If you don’t leave now, it will happen again,” he reminded me. Even though I was about 20 yards away from him, I could tell he was still breathing hard. He was still bleeding badly from earlier. I knew I couldn’t argue with him much longer. A few tears left my eyes as I fled in the other direction.
I knew already what was happening. I’d had a small fear about it when we were walking down the hall. This was a rebellion, which meant there was only one place in the castle that was relatively safe. I merely hoped I could make it their.
Memories of from when I was little started flooding into my mind. A coat over my head. Ducking and running to avoid being seen. Him being by my side. None of that seemed to help me now. The throne room was nearby the safe room, so I didn’t have far to run. I breathed a sigh of relief as I saw the doorframe in the distance. Once I got in I closed the door behind me but didn’t lock it. I was still holding on to the fleeting hope that he would soon join me.
Staying in the castle wasn’t an option, so I knew there was only one other choice- escape to the human world. I couldn’t run exceedingly far in a dress and high heels, so I grabbed some spare clothes and boot I’d had put in here and changed. In no time I was ready to leave my home. O wouldn’t last long by myself in the human world, but I had heard of special academies across the human world that trained kids with special powers and taught them about the 2 worlds. I’m awfully sure they’d be more than generous enough to put up a certain demon princess for a while. The only thing I worried was if I would ever be able to return to the demon world.
With that happy note in my head, I climbed out of the escape tunnel to the back of the castle as I headed towards the other world.
The human world was nothing like I had ever seen before. I think this is what humans call “summer”- everything was green and the sky was a pale blue with no clouds in it, but it was extremely hot, almost like at home. A couple of birds flew over my head chirping. I began to realize I was in a forest.
I took a few steps forward, the leaves and twigs crunching under my boots. Every way looks the same. It was impossible to tell which way I was supposed to go. But, I knew I had no time to lose. Reina or somebody else employed by this “Trianna” person was definitely not far behind. I decided to go in the direction the birds had gone.
After a few more seconds of walking, I started to run. I had no clue where the hell I was going or where the “special academies” were, but I knew if I could just make a little headway if I escaped from the forest. I had heard of some of the guards on temporary reassignment at a close-by academy- maybe Rosemarie Academy was the name? Perhaps if I found a town I could ask around…
The forest was so dense; it was difficult to tell where I was going. I ran frantically, pushing spare limbs and branches out of my face. My breathing was strained, and I started feeling lightheaded. I must had been running for at least 10 minutes, or at least that’s what it felt like.
Ahead of me lay a large, blue pond. I immediately collapsed in front of it and splashed the cool water on my face. However, I only had a minute of pleasure before I was rudely reminded of my situation. From across the pond I could hear the snapping of branches and several footsteps. I immediately ducked behind a bush over towards my right.
A young woman, who I assume is a succubus based on her wings and tail, peered out from behind the trees and walked over towards the pong and bent down. “Great, you dumbasses lost her.”
The half-a-dozen men behind her froze up with terror in their eyes. “We were sure she went this way!” One stammered.
Without even looking back, the woman gave her orders. “Go back to the castle. I’ll search for the other girls on my own; hopefully I can accomplish something that you guys screwed up.” She then glared back at them over her shoulder. “Just because I’m doing this solo doesn’t mean I’ll be taking the blame for losing the princess.”
The men grudgingly retreated the way they came, leaving her behind by the waters edge.
I sat there, shaking in the foliage. The woman was in no rush to move away, and only stared at her reflection while dipping her hand in the water. I knew if I attempted to flee she would see me immediately. What could I do…? And who were the other girls she was talking about? I was too scared to move, so I just stayed crouched under the leaved trying to process all of what had happened.
I had been staring outside the leaves at the woman for several minutes when a sound over towards my right, almost behind me, broke the silence. I glanced over and could faintly hear a couple of girls coming closer. I held my breath. Were these the girls the woman had been talking about?
I knew I had to act fast- as soon as the girls walked out of the clearing, I stumbled out of my hiding spot.